Troubled life of 'remarkable' Lancaster artist explored in new exhibition featuring 50 paintings
A new exhibition at Lancaster City Museum will provide the opportunity to delve into the life and work of an artist who took inspiration from the district’s landscapes and breathtaking countryside.
"Reginald Aspinwall: a troubled landscape" takes place from tomorrow (September 24th) to November 7th and explores the works of Reginald Aspinwall, who was born in Preston but lived in Lancaster for much of his life.
The exhibition will bring together paintings from museums in both cities – the Harris Museum Art Gallery and Library in Preston, which will soon be undergoing a major renovation and has loaned paintings from its collection so they can be viewed while this work takes place.
When combined with the City Museum’s own collection, 50 paintings spanning Aspinwall’s life and career will be on show.
Aspinwall was born in Preston in 1855, moving to Lancaster in the 1870s to study art.
A prolific artist, he took inspiration from nature and the collection includes paintings of Morecambe Bay, Caton, Heysham and Halton and countryside around the Lancaster district, in addition to further afield.
However, his talent was curtailed by his addiction to alcohol and the last few years of his life were marked by financial hardship, which forced him into Lancaster Workhouse.
In 1920 he was moved to Lancaster Moor Hospital, where he died in 1921. He is buried in Lancaster Cemetery.
The exhibition will also examine this aspect of his life and how it affected his painting.
Coun. Sandra Thornberry, cabinet member with responsibility for arts and culture, said: “There is no doubt that Reginald Aspinwall was a prodigious talent and it’s very sad that this artist has not had the recognition he deserves.
“It’s therefore very pleasing that this exhibition provides the opportunity to see a great collection of his work, including many paintings which people in the Lancaster area may not have seen before, and to find out more about his life.”
Lancaster City Museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 5pm. Entry is free. For more information visit Visitlancaster.org.uk/museums, the museum’s Facebook page @Lancastercitymuseum or Instagram @lancastercitymuseums.